English Journal #8

Throughout Invisible Cites, Polo firstly describes the construction of each city to immensely seduce Khan’s imagination. Once Polo has Khan’s full attention he begins to emit certain details to the cities construction. In many of the cities, I find that Polo is describing his past failures and regrets. Possibly, Polo was so deeply in love with Venice that he equally hated how he spent his time inside of it. Life literally stood in his way from moving forward. I think Polo disguised the negatives of city initially due to the fact that he was aware that Khan would not have been interested. Once he had Khan’s attention he felt compelled to enlighten Khan and possibly help his future and the future of his empire.

One city that I feel describes this prompt impeccably is Isidora. This city includes everything a man could wish for or ever desire. It gets back to the true barbaric desires of man; qualities relating to selfishness, women, and violent entertainment. Polo states, “A city where buildings have spiral staircases encrusted with spiral seashells.” Just for second, the reader gets trapped and pauses before they read the rest. Now imagine how Khan felt when Polo first described it. He was probably lost and did not expect where Polo was going to lure him to next. Khan possibly enjoyed the details that Polo elaborated on such as having two or three women, cock fighting, and science. Finally, Polo told Khan that the best thing about this city was that it was a place of dreams.

All of the characteristics of Isidora were created by Polo to allure Khan and his imagination into the city. Once Khan was allured, Polo finally told him that is was a city where men have dreamt of when they were young and are forced to view when they are elderly. I’m assuming that Khan is probably disturbed how the city operates. I think Polo was trying to teach Khan an aspect of being a good emperor and to not let childish memories and desires entertain his current state and empire.

In the age of the twenty-first century, I see this on multiple occasions. For example, I have worked at a nursing home for the past four summers. I see people staring at me outside so intensely and how I move about so quickly. This summer it all made sense. Specifically, elderly men will sit outside and watch me cut bushes for hours. They want to be me. They wish they could be my age again and do the things I do every day. This has taught me that I shouldn’t take for granted what I can do today and wish away this time in my life. Live it to the fullest and have no regrets.

English #7

Personally, throughout this trip, I consider almost every geographical border that I have crossed to be an emotional one as well. The flight from Akron/Canton to Atlanta was not so much a border for me because I have flown all over the country, but possibly it was for the rest of you; I don’t know. However, I did find the /flight from Atlanta to Rome, the flight from Rome to Paris, and even the trips within Italy as all emotional borders. For me, coming on this trip was a re-establishment of confidence in myself and future decisions I will have to make. Don’t get it twisted, I’m not afraid to cross borders and go on adventures, but it’s the fact of failing at life. Failing myself, my mom and dad, or one day my future family. It sounds goofy, but let me explain.

As I have previously written, ya’ll understand different parts of my past and where I have succeeded and failed. You may not know all of them, but you are aware of possibly a few or maybe even several. Anyways, back when I decided to come on this trip last February, I was still quite unsure of many things. Everything appeared to be up in the air. I really didn’t know whether I was going to stay in college, what career I was going to choose, or if I was going dropout and begin working for my dad’s business. I felt like all the decisions I had made up until that point in my life, educationally, were not necessarily useless, but had no effect of the direction of my future. Yes, I was in college. Wooohoo, I didn’t really have a choice. To make it in these modern times people have to go to college and get a degree, and a useful one at that.

Spring Semester 2011 was incredibly overwhelming. In addition to my history major, I chose international relations as my second major because I felt somewhat interested and that compelled me to look into it. So I did and everything went down from there. I’m sure everyone has their issues and freak outs, but I was in “meltdown” mode. Things just kept worse and worse. I was working five days a week and I was in classes that I had no idea what was going on. I would just get to class and pretty much stare off into space because at that point I would have rather been anywhere other than there until one moment in the beginning of February. I think I was working at Grinders on the fryers actually. A thought came to mind and hit me like a ton of bricks. Like BAM!! It possibly could have been fryer oil but who knows. By the end of the night I handed in my two weeks notice.

Until those two weeks were complete, I just tried to squeeze by and eventually it was over. After that, I had so much free time to commit to getting my grades back up and things together, that it turned out pretty freaking well. I was entering a new phase of my life and matching up pretty well to the problems I was encountering. But I still had one problem. I wasn’t aware of how to create an all around professional availability. After some talks with some professors they gave me some ideas and for the most part, I have taken them. This trip is a prime example. I pretty much had to persuade my parents to let me come. I told them that all my professors said it would be a great opportunity to provide me with experiences and it was something that would look really well my on resume.

So here I am today and almost finished with this trip. Technically, I haven’t really been on my own, but in a sense I have; each one of us has. The things that I have learned on this trip could have never been learned back in Canton, Ohio. I have seen the world in a completely different way than ever before. Throughout this trip I’ve had to count on others many times and I think ya’ll have relied on me as well. That alone has helped build confidence in myself that I thought I had lost. This trip has reassured me that I am without a doubt going towards the correct career. I don’t think I could imagine my career not letting me explore the world and the people within it. Forreals. The people in Italy alone have taught me so much that I wouldn’t be able learn anywhere else. So I am saying that this trip has giving me the confidence to know that I am doing something that is effectively embracing my passions and has helped prove to myself and my parents that I’m going to be alright in life.

English Journal #6

I’ll be completely honest. Until last Wednesday I did not read a page of this book. Sitting on the train, waiting for what seemed like forever, I asked Ron to borrow the book so I could catch up. At least to make use of my time. Anyways as I began reading, I was pulled in by the details of the cities very quickly. For instance, I got stopped on page 8. I remember reading a line from the last paragraph to Catie. It seemed depressing. The funny thing is that all my cities that I remembered are very similar. I’ll begin with Isidora.

Polo introduces Isidora in a very manly fashion. He states that Isidora is a city that a man longs for, where out of two women, man chooses the third, and finally it’s a place where blood is shed through fighting. Yes, it seems very barbaric, but that’s man. He also states that it’s a city of dreams. But the dreams were of a man’s adolescence and he only arrives there when he’s old and he is forced to watch the young go by.

I have to wonder whether or not the young are actually inside or outside the city because they shouldn’t be in the city if they’re young. The part of this city that got my attention the most was the line, “Desires are already memories.” That one sentence, specifically, made me choose this city. I think that’s it something to live by. To me, it means to not let the opportunities pass you by so that you regret them later on in life.

The second city I chose is Zenobia. Zenobia is a city that is basically suspended in mid-air. It has pillars that are all different heights, ladders and sidewalks just hanging in the air, stairways completely suspended by themselves and many other objects as well. Polo mentions this city as a place that occupies people who wish to live nowhere but Zenobia because it continuously fills their desires. It’s the perfect place to them. Over time, old desires get erased by new desires. I really like this city because in a sense the people get to start over. If they have a new desire, then they are able to begin almost a new life. At some moments in life, people really regret where they are at, and I find that it’s intriguing that in this make-believe city you can improve your life instantly.

Finally, the third city is Zoebide; a city that allures men by using a woman. The men never catch the woman. She always looks identical for each man. Each man also builds his own city in the space where he lost the woman initially, so if she comes back she will be trapped. Over time, man forgets why he is there in the first place and ponders the thought on why more men are still coming and building their own space. I think that this can be used in today’s world. My dad and grandpa always tell me to never let a woman get in the way of my education or career. Women can always affect the direction of a man’s life and vice versa.  Maybe Polo was speaking of that.

All of these cities that I have mentioned are that of Polo’s deepest desires. They are all depressing to me even though each city appears to be mentally attractive. I think Polo possibly fell in these mental traps and by talking aloud to Khan he is escaping them. Who knows? Polo is a very complicated dude.

English Journal #5

 

I think the initial connection between both Marco Polo and Kublai Khan are simultaneously verbal and non-verbal conversations. Obviously, Polo does not speak Khan’s language but they were both probably still speaking anyway. So Polo used materials to describe each city and he also used the noises and facial expressions. If there is a language barrier between two individuals, expressions go a long way to get a point across. Truthfully, I bet Khan used some really forceful expression in the beginning because Polo’s objective was
unclear, but eventually he sort of understood Polo because the narrator began telling the audience that Khan began imagining his own cities that were very different but at the same time, the similar. Once Khan did that, Polo corrected him. He said that he just explained that city to him, but really he didn’t. I think that Polo meant that the cities are ever-changing and will constantly do so because they aren’t real.

However, even both men could not clearly establish an exact understanding of each other; they both still progressed to understand what the other way attempting to say. Both men are extremely imaginative and can see what is outside the box even though they argue. Marco Polo does present the original creation of these cities, and Khan uses his basis as a way to build his own magnificent creations. At the same time, they link what they created back to what reality truly is. For example, Marco Polo imagined this incredible city of Zaira. He described its unrealistic features but at the same moment uses phrases such as “the height of the railing and the leap of the adulterer who climbed over it at dawn.” I can see the city he is describing more clear when he used phrases as such because that could occur in everyday life.  So I have to say that in the beginning a somewhat clear connection between both men is made.

I do have to wonder whether any of this ideas where ever put into place. Obviously, the features in many of the cities are all real and exist throughout the globe. But what if an actually city was ever created to resemble such an outlandish type of city? Khan could have relayed his ideas to someone else and then to another person, and maybe a city of the future could one day exist. It’s all about imagination with Polo; I do have to question where he got the materials to describe to Khan?

Art Journal #5

Name: Deposition from the Cross

Size: 350 x 235 cm

Location: Galleria dell’Accademia,
Florence

Description: Short Paragraph

Throughout our weekend in Florence we saw
so many incredible pieces of art that reached from one side of the spectrum to the other. At some moments I was extremely floored by certain pieces, while atother times I could have cared less what I was staring at. As I walked into the David, I knew I was going to pick something but I just wasn’t sure what I would find. Obviously, I was absolutely positive I wouldn’t write about the nude statue of David. That would be just too weird. Ironically, directly to the left of the David, there on the wall was a painting called the Deposition from the Cross.

At a moment’s glance it had lured my
eyes to it. I just stood there and stared. Truthfully, I cannot tell you what I
thinking, even if I was thinking anything at all, but I just couldn’t look
away. I think it was the illuminating color of Christ in the painting that
attracted me. He is a very pale white, and to me he appeared to be the most
realistic that I have seen of him yet here in Italy. It also appears that in
the painting other people, near Christ, also have pieces of them that are very
pale as well. The scene is obviously of them taking Christ down from the cross.
So I am compelled to say I feel that the people touching him are pale due to
the fact that, even though he died for them,  he was a piece of them and that a little of them
died when he was crucified. But maybe the rest of their bodies are painted
normal to explain that his love and compassion will always live on through
them. Who knows!

The man who created this wonderful piece
of art was Bronzino. He began this creation in 1560 and finished it by 1565. It
was commissioned by someone within the Medici family. Experts say that in many
of his pieces, a person can see the problems surrounding the time period. What
was interesting to me was that one expert said that in this piece that there is
no central focus. I find that amusing. As I previously stated, the incredibly
intensity of the white immediately draws attention to Christ and his closest
followers. I do find that the background colors are somewhat bleak; especially
the parts that are just black spots, but Bronzino probably did it for a reason.

 

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/his/CoreArt/art/bar_bronz_deposit.html

English Journal #4

Entering high school was a refreshing and exciting
experience as a fourteen year old. I was full of expectations and the desire to
be accepted just like everyone else wanted. I did not realize the extent that my
personal beliefs and choices would be so harshly judged by my peers and how I would
be pushed to the limit. In high school many students attempt to fit into the
popular or outgoing groups, and in doing so many hard decisions come attached such
as drugs and alcohol. I will be the first person to tell anyone that I was not
the wisest guy in high school. I fell into peer pressure and did some pretty
questionable things, but there was always that one thing (driving drunk) that I
never will accept and it is something that I am hundred and ten percent
against.

Just to fill in some background information of my teen
years. I was very “goody two shoes” early on in high school until I began
becoming close friends with many of the seniors. Every freshman’s dream is to
hang with the older guys, especially if you play sports. Anyways, I quickly started
hanging with them, drinking with them, and smoking with them. I didn’t even
blink once throughout the process. I fell into peer pressure so easily and I had
a great time doing it. I even had a girl friend at the time that was a junior
and she was just as wild at the seniors.

Although, I did so many idiotic things with this crew of
guys with we partied, I never drove drunk. Before I even entered high school, I
made a promise to my mom that never would. Yes, I have fibbed to my mom before,
but this was different. I never have ever driven drunk and I’ve had my fair
share of being the drunken idiot. It’s completely against my morals, even
though a lot of the things in my past have compromised them; this one has
stuck. I think it has to do with my grandmother’s mom being hit by a drunk
driver. Just out of respect to her and the obvious fear of hurting someone else
and myself. I don’t think I could ever accept anything after a horrific
accident like that. Many of my friends and acquaintances have tried to push me
into driving or getting in the car with someone drunk, but I haven’t. Those
people have no significance in my life whatsoever after that point.

I know does not sound like a great example of what the
prompt wanted, but it is the closest thing that I can recall to having someone
questioning what I stand for. Off the top of my hand I cannot think of many
things that people have questioned, but this one definitely stuck out to me. (SO
THERE YA GO!)

Art Journal #4

1) Name: Christ Della Minerva
2) Location: The Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva
3) Size/Material: 6’9”/ Marble

Until our tour to the Basilica of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, I was absolutely positive I was going to write about the ornate golden gates at the entrance to the park that led to the Louvre, but the basilica offered something that I just couldn’t pass up. This piece of art stood quietly and at the same time demanded attention. It was the Cristo Della Minerva.
The Cristo Della Minerva is a statue of Christ grasping the crucifix and his walking stick. His head appears to be turned away from the cross as if he was looking towards his father, our Lord, or possibly his people. If you look closely at his face it appears to be solemn, but his body gives a completely different image. He stands completely firm, showing his strength, but that could also be the time period when it was constructed. The cross emerges from the statue very boldly. Its slick edges and towering height over Christ are done for a reason in my personal opinion. When I examined it the first time I noticed it right away, but I didn’t know why. Shouldn’t Jesus be important than the cross? Then I thought that possibly the significance of the cross in this statue is that Christ died for us on cross. The crucifix is an international symbol of Christianity and that might be why it stands out so much. The cross and walking stick together could also remind the viewers of all the miracles Christ performed.
Beginning in 1514, Michelangelo constructed the Cristo Della Minerva from white marble. From my understanding he created two sculptures of the same design due to the discovery of a black vein in the marble. The first statue was left in an incomplete state, almost finished, and was later bought in 1522 by the man who first asked for it to be made, and he placed it in his courtyard garden. It was eventually sold and lost until it was found in another Roman church. It was recognizable due to the black vein in the marble. The second statue was finally finished in 1521. Originally, Christ was left naked standing his cross and walking stick but over time a cloth piece was attached to the statue for modesty. One of the most amazing aspects of where this statue stands is that it is in the only gothic church in all of Rome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cristo_della_Minerva